British and Swiss scientists have identified an antibody from a human patient that neutralizes main groups of influenza A viruses.
The flu "super antibody" called F16 can fight all types of influenza A viruses.
Researchers are saying this could be a turning point in the way we treat human and animal diseases resulting from the flu viruses.
It also paves the way to develop a universal flu vaccine.
"As the first and only antibody which targets all known subtypes of the influenza A virus, FI6 represents an important new treatment option," said Antonio Lanzavecchia in a statement. Lanzavecchia is Humabs' chief scientific officer and director of the Swiss Institute for Research in Biomedicine,
Currently, vaccine makers spend a lot of time and money to make vaccines against each strain during flu season. A universal flu vaccine would protect people from all flu strains for a number of years or even for life, instead of having to get protected every year from different flu strains.
"As we saw with the 2009 pandemic, a comparatively mild strain of influenza can place a significant burden on emergency services. Having a universal treatment which can be given in emergency circumstances would be an invaluable asset," said John Skehel of Britain's National Institute for Medical Research.